Super Mario Is Back!

Archived from 2000-01 season.

NHL teams

Mario Lemieux returned after 3 1/2 years off the ice with a super performance, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs with a goal and two assists.

"Overall, I think it was a good performance for everybody and I'm glad it's over," Lemieux said after the game. "That's what I had in mind, to play my first game and be successful and to play at a high level. I was a little bit surprised at how I played. My legs were strong."

Lemieux needed only 30 seconds for his first point feeding the puck from behind the net into the crease where Jaromir Jagr directed it pass Curtis Joseph for 1-0 Penguins lead.

"I've thought about this for a long time, and it was great to get back," Lemieux said. "It was a great feeling when I stepped on the ice."

Jagr, Lemieux and Jan Hrdina combined nine points, with Jagr scoring two goals and two assists and Hrdina a goal and an assist. Lemieux logged 23 shifts totaling 20 minutes, 46 seconds.

"That was a good test, to be able to play the whole game and feel the same way through the whole game," Lemieux said.

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